According The Star Online, citing Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, the hot weather is even affecting snakes. “Snakes come out of their normal habitat because of the changing weather patterns. This is something we have to be careful about,” he said at a press conference today (Wednesday, 27th April).
Hospitals in Malaysia have recorded 730 cases of snake bites since January, with Kedah recording 195 cases and Perak with 107 cases.
Just a couple of days ago, a Form 3 student of Sekolah Dato’ Abdul Razak (SDAR) in Negeri Sembilan was bitten by a snake while he was returning to the school hostel after prayers. The incident was the 2nd of 3 cases of students being bitten by snakes in the school compound. The only fatal case recorded so far was on 19th April, when a 7-year-old girl from SK Dato’ Hashim 1 in Kelantan died after being bitten by a snake.
FMT quoted Dr Tengku Rinalfi Putra Tengku Azizan, a senior lecturer of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Universiti Putra Malaysia, as saying that any area not occupied by humans over 24 hours will offer snakes a place for protection and to look for food.
“Schools, for example, are mostly occupied by students for half a day from morning till afternoon while at night, it is unoccupied. This will raise the possibility of snakes entering the school compound such as the canteen..for protection from the sun besides offering a good source of food such as rats and frogs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam has advised victims of snake bites to seek immediate help at hospitals or clinics, as 139 hospitals in the country were equipped with antivenom treatments.
“Be sensible about snake bite cases. Seek medical help as early as possible. The decision of treatment should only be done by medical professionals. Do not try to suck the venom out of the victim yourself because doing this can put the victim in danger,” he said.
He added that schools or local clinics would not be equipped with antivenom treatments, as such treatment is delicate and needed to be conducted at hospitals with the relevant facilities.
The heatwave in Malaysia is expected to last until June.